Haiku Heights – Support

Private moments

Private moments (Photo credit: Colin-47)

My chin droops slightly

You kiss the top of my head

I close my green eyes.

*****************************************************

My friend, darling one

let us grip each others hands

when the night scares us.

******************************************************

Please lean against me

angle to my soft body

so I can feel strong.

Broken

English: Blue Baseball Cap

English: Blue Baseball Cap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw old Mr.Tom in the produce section of the gigantic, glitzy grocery store; all bright lights and big orange”sale” signs. I hadn’t realized I had gasped inwardly so sharply that I felt a stabbing pain in my chest. This is not the man I remembered at all: the jovial, beer-bellied friend of my mother’s, the man with a hearty laugh and a baseball cap was now just a whisper of his former self. His pants hung low on him, his eyes vacant yet deeply troubled, his complexion was pasty. He was running on auto-pilot and even though I tried to say “hello” and ask about his wife, who I knew was sick, his whole tone of voice had changed completely. “She’s terrible” he spoke sharply and I feared he would yell at me as he had once but he didn’t seem to have the energy or the inclination. He just pushed his grocery cart away and told me that he was “behind schedule and that he could not stay and talk”and then he slipped away through the aisles, like a ghost.

I knew there was nothing I could do,  I knew that there would be worse, much worse things that would happen before,  IF they got better at all. I had been more friendly with Mr. Tom’s wife, a good friend of my mother’s. Mrs. Rae had been ill for years, very slowly weakening, but now she could no longer walk, or eat, or move by herself. She refused help of any kind except for her husband’s help and he was killing himself to accommodate her.

My mother always said they had “the perfect marriage.” I always answered that “no marriage is perfect.” As Mrs. Rae is left dying, taking care of her is killing him too. Is that a perfect marriage? The term “hospice” is never uttered in their house. He is killing himself to care for her and I pray he doesn’t kill himself first. It is a definite possibility. She has every right to die at home if she wishes, but she refuses for anyone to help him too. That is not the perfect marriage, I would not want my husband to die for me while taking care of me.

I don’t know how much Mrs. Rae is suffering from dementia and how much is control. I’m sure it is some of both. He has taken care of her for a very long time, years. Their children stay away. “Why?” my mother fumes and judges? I ask her not to pass judgment but she doesn’t listen to me. I tell her again and again that there are always “two sides to a story” but when her mind is made  up, she will not consider any other thoughts. She never has.

I see Mr. Tom as I peek through the aisles. He doesn’t look at anybody just carefully and slowly lifts one item off the shelf with two hands and places it gingerly in the cart. He doesn’t see me, he doesn’t see anybody. What he is going home to is his loving, dying wife, whom he watches, day and night. She sleeps with her eyes half closed and her mouth open. He has to go over to her sometimes, bending his head over her chest to see if she is breathing. She wants to die and he wants her to die to get them both out of this long, horrifying painful process. It’s a real life horror movie. If only he could get someone to help him it would be better but she will not allow it.

Nobody will listen to them, especially the doctors. So, he sits next to her, night and day, cooking and cleaning and smiling for her, pretending that everything is alright. He will do that until she takes her last breath, this beautiful, dying sparrow, and he will be there to watch it leave her frail, weak, body.

Carry On Tuesday – I Can See Clearly Now

JAMES MOES

JAMES MOES (Photo credit: btm)

“I am so, so pretty. People stop me on the street to stare at me and smile; the feeling inside me is one of great joy and wonder. I’ve never felt like this, I think to myself, in my dream but it feels delicious and I am incredibly happy, the happiest I have ever been. I am light on my feet, I dance in time, swirling around in my pink and black lace dress. I can wear high heels that don’t hurt that match my dress impeccably. I am loved, I throw my head back with its brown tendrils perfectly curled and laugh.

I met James when I was fifteen and he was sixteen. Once we met we were inseparable; we went on picnics all the time. He knew how much I lived going on picnics, our hands getting sticky from the sandwiches, thickly sliced multi-grain bread, sharp cheddar cheese, smoked ham, stone ground mustard, small, sweet pickles and those salty potato chips that we bought at the store. Dear, sweet, handsome James. James, the grown-up man with the sly, boyish grin whom I met by chance, two years before. His car was stuck and I was with my new puppy and he seized upon my puppy like a child seeing Santa Claus. Apparently, his own dog, also a German Shepard mix  had recently been euthanized, and I think his pure love and excitement to see my puppy made him light up from the inside out.  He picked up my dog and held her in his arms, laughing and the dog loved every second of the attention. I liked watching them together. More than that, I liked James, putting his arm around my shoulders, his fingers combing my hair, sniffing my hair and murmuring how good it smelt, like flowers and the ocean and sunshine. We were meant for each other, James and I, it was a love that was so good and pure, based on friendship and romance and companionship.

We would grow old together, we promised one another but before that we were busy!  We had three children together, two boys, Tom and Eric and then we had our baby girl, Nicole. Oh, my, we all made a fuss over the baby girl. In fact, she was called “baby girl” for most of her life. She was just the sweetest thing and oh, how she could just get everything she wanted out of her daddy, why he would just fall to mush if she asked him anything, why anything at all.

We had a good life together, he and I. We were destined to be together until the last breath he took. I can see clearly now that not everyone has this type of love in their lives. I know we were meant for each other the first time I saw him. He used to kid me about that saying I was such a “romantic” and he would shake his head and laugh but I knew he thought the very same thing.

Now, I sit, alone, in the hospital. I lie in the white bed with the nurses who come clucking to take blood and do tests and all I hear are the clang clang of bells and the pager screaming names of doctors. Lord, the last place to go to get some healing is some damn hospital, that’s for sure. I try to think of the good old days but when I try to talk about it, people just look at me like all sorts of crazy.  “There was no James” they say. “You were never married” they say firmly.  “You have no children, does anyone visit you, they ask?”Why do they say these horrible, mean things to me? I don’t know why, but I always shake my head and scream when they do. Last time I did that they put some stuff in my mouth and held my arms and I slept for a long time. I didn’t feel like me when I woke up, I was all confused for a real long time.

I don’t understand why they say these things. I just know that I was happy once. Once, long ago. Maybe in another world, maybe in my imagination, like they say. It just sure beats living my last days here, in a small, dark room with no light. I have no spirit left inside me; I lie very still hoping that death will take me quietly because I’m scared of pain, very frightened indeed. Just let me go, Lord, just let me go.  I want to be with James, we will be together again. I know, what I know and no darn fool can tell me otherwise. Please, Lord, just take me now.”

Carry On Tuesday- Come Fly With Me

Boynton Canyon - Sedona Arizona

Image by Al_HikesAZ via Flickr

Come fly with me and let me clutch your hand so that even if I feel the tiniest bit afraid in the beginning, I know you are here for support. We will travel over mountain tops and swoop over canyons as if we were birds soaring easily for food and flight. We have no responsibilities, except to have fun and for adventure to find us and for us to drink it in like wine, the shade of crimson roses. This is the adventure we have waited for, for so many years and we deserve this window of light looking straight out on to the  world. Wherever we go, we have each other, our own constant, for as long as it lasts. The images out of this small window are delightful. Now, we are flying above puffy, springy white clouds, I almost want to leap out through the window to jump on them, with you, my love, still holding on, to my hand.